LinkedIn Publishing: Beware of content selfies

Ellen and her stars selfie

Ellen DeGeneres and the Samsung sponsored 2014 Oscar’s Selfie

Ahhh, the famous Ellen selfie… Now that’s a billion dollar selfie!

The once digital trend of Millenials has turned into a marketing phenomenon.  Businesses of all sizes are tapping into the power of selfies. Marketing Cloud recently shared how companies are successfully using selfie marketing to reach customers.

But, where some succeed, many others fail.  There is a damaging application of selfies and it’s plaguing small business owners and entrepreneurs; I call it Content “Selfie” Syndrome. It’s especially prevalent with LinkedIn’s new publishing feature. 

Here’s how it works: Anyone with or without writing experience can post an article. But writers be warned, you could be doing more damage than good with this new marketing tactic.

My notifications feed fills up daily with notices from my contacts about their new post. If I know the person’s content well, or the headline grabs me, I’ll read it. But most often, I don’t get past the headline.  The headline is one of the most important components of a well-written article, and below are five other areas writers should focus on.

1. Know your audience!

For those victims severely inflicted with Content “Selfie” Syndrome, they are writing to everyone and anyone. The content is vague or just a snippet of something that could be really valuable, and it all leads back to “me, me, me.” One post I read recently linked back to the writer’s self-published book at least 10 times. Take the time to develop an audience persona and research the group you are targeting. Create or curate content that will be useful to them, not fluff.

LinkedIn assigns posts to a relevant category. If they can’t tie it to a category, your viewership will suffer. Find your buyer person using these tips from Strategic Business Coach Jackie Nagel and her post, Buyer Persona: The Ultimate Tool for Small Business Success in a Crowded Market.

2. Don’t take all day!

A standard blog post is around 500 words, and the best writers will tell you not to go over 750. It’s not that longer content doesn’t have value, but it better be really… I mean… REALLY… great, if it is that long.  As in Stephen King is the author of it.

3. Raise the bar on your content!

If you want to offer tips and advice, great. But raise the bar on your content. Include links to resources, and links to other articles you’ve written that show you really know your stuff. Include examples, templates, screen shots and guides. Link to studies, reports, and surveys to validate what you are saying. And do some storytelling!  Dive deep into creating great content by reading this post from Kissmetrics: The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content.

4. Don’t forget to proofread!

If you want to create good content, you can. If you want to create incredible content that sets you apart from your competition, you must work at it. One of the mandatory steps is proofreading.  Writing a thought-provoking article takes time and research. It may take five or six revisions until you reach the quality your audience will love.

Once you reach that final draft, proofread it. Have someone you trust read it too. I always have my husband read my work out loud. (This was sheer torture when I was writing 12 blog posts a week for a client who treats Dementia.) If my husband starts stumbling over something I’ve written, I know I need to go back to the writing board.

5.  Write like a person, edit for SEO!

Unless you are writing a technical manual, write like a person. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Dumb it down for me’? That means don’t speak in acronyms, and tech language, and big words that make me need to grab my thesaurus. Ok… challenge me with some big words, but maybe just one or two.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to occasionally use the platform to post an announcement about your business, with longer posts use these steps to provide value to your prospects. Writing on a professional networking site like LinkedIn is no place you want to adopt a cavalier writer’s attitude…  Unless your call-to-action is “Eye Roll.”

Now it’s your turn… add to this laundry list in the comments. I want to hear from you!